Air quality in Erbil

Erbil is the capital of Kurdistan Region, North of Iraq. It is one of the largest and most important cities in Iraq and the Middle East; it has become an attractive point in terms of political and economic development, especially for investors. The expansion of the city, increasing of population, using of private car, have all together affected the environment of the city, especially air quality. The aim of this essay is to explain the impact of cars on air quality and differentiate between air quality in working days and weekends. The data has been obtained from the only metrological station which is located in the city centre explain that the quality of air in Erbil city centre is good.

The main problem of this city is lack of good, clean and public transportation, that is, the majority of the city population depend on their private vehicles. According to traffic police, Erbil has about 700,000 cars.  In addition, main bazar which is located in the city Centre surrounded by buildings of Governmental bodies like municipality, Governorate, directorate of tourism, board of investment and so on. So, people of the city and Kurdistan Region, may visit this area with their cars. Bringing car into this zone is free and allowed 24/7. It is expected that the quality of air at this area is deteriorating especially during working days which a huge number of people are visiting the district.

Data from metrological station, explain a remarkable differences between the quality of air in working days and weekends. The comparison has been hold for main air polluters which are Co, O3, No2 and SO2.  See table 1.

Table 1, average of air quality in Erbil city Centre according to working days and weekends

Dyas  (June and July) Co in mg/m3 O3 mg/m3/8 hr No2mg/m3 SO2mg/m3 /24hr
Average- Working days 1.769475 0.064225 0.001081 0.0472
Average-Weekends  1.099275 0.036725 0.000817 0.0320
WHO guidline 10 100 40 µg/m3 20 µg/m

Source, (Hassan Et al, 2018),  (Metrological station), City centre, July 2018 and (WHO 2005)

The table explains that the quality of air is better during weekends, because of using fewer cars in those days which are Friday and Saturday.  During the weekends, governmental bodies and main bazar are closed, which means fewer people are going to these areas. In addition, the main source of those four polluters is car emissions (Hassan et al, 2018).

Although, the quality of air in this city is not that bad comparing with WHO guideline and comparing to bigger cities in the EU and USA, but the situation must be controlled, and using of private cars in this zone must be restricted. Moreover, green spaces must be increased.

Furthermore, we will show the differences between daily concentration averages of gases. Table 2, shows the differences day by day in July. All the data have been recorded at morning between 9-10 AM.

Table 2, Daily air quality in Erbil

Days Co O3 No3 So2
Working- 4 of July 2.77 0.0678 0.00083 0.0513
Weekend-6- of Jul 0.7543 0.0435 0.0086 0.0192
Working- 11-of Jul 1.5024 0.0552 0.0093 0.0427
Weekend- 13 0f Jul 1.3601 0.0.211 0.0078 0.0328
Working -18-7 1.7718 0.0665 0.000811 0.0463
weekend 20-7 0.8801 0.0215 0.00081 0.0420
Working 25-7 1.0292 0.0656 0.00080 0.0485

 Source, (Hassan Et al, 2018) and (Metrological station City Centre, 2018)

It is clear that, the quality of air at morning is better in weekends comparing with Working days which is huge number of people are going to city center for shopping, or for official work in Governmental bodies.

In conclusion, air quality of Erbil is not that bad, comparing with WHO Guideline, but increasing of number of cars inside the city will affect the environment and air quality, so, using of private car must be reduced and bringing private car into the city Centre  should be not allowed .

References :

A Hassan, U Hazm and S Tofiq, 2018, Air quality in city centre, university of Slahaddin, Erbil.

Metrological station, city centre of Erbil,  July 2018, unpublished data

WHO, 2005, WHO Air quality guidelines for particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, Online Available from:;jsessionid=C800081FBFF73B42FA67C7B634F4AAB6?sequence=1, Accessed 15 AUG 2019.